Three error correction ideas for CELTA trainees and novice teachers

Classroom management
Three error correction ideas
Here are three really common classroom mistakes and some ideas on how to correct them.
Video transcript - Error correction

Want some ideas for error correction? Play along with my little quiz and I’ll show you. Are you ready? Imagine you’re in class and you hear these mistakes from learners. What’s the mistake, and how would you correct it?

I’ll give you the three mistakes, stop the video and see if you can answer these questions:

1. He live in London.
2. He is teacher.
3. Thank you for the meal – I really enjoyed.

Ready? Easy? If it was, you can switch me off now, but if you’d like to some ideas on correcting them, here we go:

These are all such common mistakes and they’re probably just slips- things that learners HAVE learnt and DO know but they just aren’t able (yet) to produce the correct version when they’re speaking in real time. Because of this, you can usually elicit from THEM and get them to self-correct, so here are some ideas about ways to do this.

Number 1
He live in London. Oh that third person ‘s’. It’s so annoying to remember and so easy to forget. I live, you live, they live, we live but he, she, it- LIVES. Introduce your learners to Superman and draw this symbol on the corner of your board, or slide if you’re online. Learners make the mistake, say nothing, just point to the image and wait.

Number 2
He is teacher. What’s wrong here? A missing article, of course – such an easy trap for learners to fall into especially if the learner doesn’t have articles in their language (that’s many, many languages!)

How can we correct it? You could point out that there’s a missing word, but for articles I find a dramatic groan can help - urghh – he’s urgghh teacher. If you do this often enough, they’ll usually self correct when you make the noise.

Number 3
Thank you for the meal, I really enjoyed it.
Yup- we need an object here- enjoy is a transitive verb. It’s not transitive in all languages so again, probably a transference issue. What can you do? Finger correction is quick and can work well here- show them that there’s a missing word and elicit what it is if you can.

I hope those ideas were helpful- don’t forget to like and subscribe and if you want more about error correction, check out this video next and don’t forget to visit my site – there are great courses and resources there for English language teachers at all stages of their careers.

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